The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Obama: Europe not ‘battleground between East and West’

The notion of thinking about Ukraine as a battle between East and West "should have ended with the Cold War," President Obama said Monday.

In an interview with the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant, published as he arrived in Amsterdam, Obama said  it is important that Ukraine have good relations with the United States, Russia and Europe.

"The United States does not view Europe as a battleground between East and West, nor do we see the situation in Ukraine as a zero-sum game," Obama said.  "That’s the kind of thinking that should have ended with the Cold War."

Obama again condemned the Russian invasion of Crimea, calling it a violation of international law. He said he will continue to consult with European allies during the trip.

"It’s important for Russia to understand that the international community will not accept its violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity," Obama said. "Moreover, if Russia continues on this path, the sanctions we have begun to impose, the pressure on Russia’s economy, and Russia’s diplomatic isolation, will only increase.  This is the basic choice that Russia has to make."